What is Podfade?: Tips for new and seasoned podcasters

You know when a show gradually stops releasing new episodes, and eventually falls off the map altogether?

That’s podfading, and it’s the reason many podcasters don’t get past their 7th episode without experiencing a decrease in motivation.

Urban dictionary defines podfade as when a podcast suddenly stops releasing new content without a final show or an announcement.

Thousands of new podcasts came on the scene last week alone. Although the podcast movement is gaining traction, there is a large percentage of podcasters who stop their show early on.

In 2019, roughly 27,000 podcasts stopped releasing new episodes.

According to a 2018 a statistic by AmplifiMedia, Blubrry CEO, Todd Cochrane says 75% of podcasts are no longer in production (this statistic used RSS feeds to determine active vs. inactive shows.)

Below are tips for getting out of podfade once it’s begun, and for preventing it from happening in the first place.

Tips for new podcasters: 10 steps to prevent podfade from the start

1. Set realistic expectations

It's easy to get excited about starting a new podcast, and hard work to keep it going once that excitement fades. Setting expectations that are achievable can go a long way toward staying motivated.

2. Stick to a (loose) outline

Starting a podcast with little to no structure seems fun for those who like to shoot-from-the-hip, but it can quickly lead to rambling, disorganization, and a sub-par listening experience. There’s no need for a formal outline unless you want to make one- a short, bullet-pointed list is all you need to get started.

3. Choose the right topic

You don't have to be an expert on your show’s subject matter, but what you lack in knowledge should be made up for with enough real curiosity and genuine enthusiasm to keep your show going strong. Make sure you have enough interest in your show’s topic to consistently find new, good content and discuss it on a regular basis.

4. Start as a series or a seasonal show

Maybe you don’t want your show to be a serial show-that’s fine. But there are benefits to a new podcaster starting out with a limited set of episodes. By starting out as a seasonal show or a series, listeners expect your show to have an end. If you get to the end of your show and decide to stop, it won’t be considered podfade-the end was expected. If you decide to keep releasing new podcast episodes, it will be a pleasant surprise to your listeners, and there’s no rule that says you have to stay a serial podcast if you started out that way, so don’t think this locks you into any particular format.

5. Keep your set-up simple

We cover this more extensively in Buzzsprout's How to Start a Podcast guide. Your recording setup should be easy to work with. You don’t have to spend a fortune on buying equipment, but make sure you don’t get products you will dread using just to save a few bucks, either. Try to buy equipment you'll enjoy using, and put some effort into making the studio itself a place you enjoy being in (even if it's just a walk-in closet!)

6. Avoid editing burnout

Quality editing is important, but it doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time. New software makes it possible to edit well without getting overwhelmed by the process. If you have the budget, outsourcing your show’s editing to podcast producers is also an option.

7. Choose a sustainable format

Start your show with a format you are confident you can sustain long-term. If finding a new person to interview every episode feels daunting, create a schedule that incorporates guest interviews every other week, once a month, or maybe not at all. If you don't already, consider adding aco-hostto your show so you don't have to go it all alone. Fortunately, formatting options are nearly endless, so choose what feels comfortable. A demanding, unsustainable format is the death of manypodcasts.

8. Record for your listeners

Just like bloggers shouldn’t write for Google when they're blogging so they rank high in search results, podcasters shouldn’t spend their time thinking about how to please Apple podcast so they can become the next “New and Noteworthy” show. Try not to focus on Apple (formerly iTunes) or your show’s stats. Spend the majority of your energy creating quality content, and you’ll greatly increase your chance of success in the long-term.

9. Establish short-term goals from the beginning

A little planning goes a long way in podcasting. Know what you want to ultimately accomplish with your podcast, but don’t get bogged down by long-term goals in the beginning. Focus on short, achievable goals for the first 8 weeks of your show. How many episodes do you want to have released by the end of 8 weeks? What other goals do you hope to have achieved by then?

10. Have some shows pre-recorded to act as a buffer

Set aside time to record 2-3 extra shows before you launch. Don’t release these-keep them in your back pocket for days when life happens and you need a break. If you record 2-3 extra episodes, you'll have enough content to keep you going if (when) you hit a dry spell. By preparing for a dry spell ahead of time, you won't have to panic when it comes. You can relax, air a pre-recorded episode (or two), and take time to think up new ideas.

Tips for seasoned podcasters: 4 steps to combat podfade

What if you’ve had a show for a while, and are experiencing podfade now that you’re more established and have a loyal listener base?

If you haven’t already, read over the list of suggestions for new podcasters and apply them to your current situation. If they don’t address your specific type of podfade, these tips might help:

1. Address burnout

Take a listen to our recent Buzzcast addressing the issue of burnout. Go back to basics and reassess why you started your show to begin with.

2. Change formats & assess your strengths

Maybe you’re a great writer, but don’t enjoy off-the-cuff dialogue with guests.  In this case, a scripted show might be more your speed, as it gives you a chance to plan what to say, and takes some of the pressure off the recording process. There are plenty of format options for your show if your current one doesn’t feel right, and chances are, you’ll be more consistent as a podcast host if you’re operating within your comfort zone and have a show well-suited to your personality.

3. Change your episode frequency

Podcasting is an endlessly flexible medium. As long as you communicate with your audience, you can decide to release episodes less frequently. To fill in the gaps and ensure you don’t lose listeners, you could offer a short piece of content in between your longer, less frequent episodes (five-minute episodes, quick tips, etc.).

4. Take a hiatus & be honest with your audience

Most listeners will understand if you take a break, as long as you keep them informed about why you won't be releasing new episodes for a while. Until you decide how to move forward with your show, you can continue to post smaller pieces of content on social media so you maintain the connection with your audience you've worked hard to develop.

Pro tip: Keep up with Buzzsprout's podcasts created specifically to make (and keep) podcasters successful. How to Start a PodcastBuzzcast5 Minute Mondays, and Podcasting in Real Life all offer helpful tips and insight into the industry.

Taken together, these tips should cure the occasional lack of motivation podcasters experience. But, if you’ve tried all these tips and you still can’t find your groove again, don’t force it. Podcasting might not be the most effective medium for you, right now. Thankfully, there are no shortage of other outlets that can help you get your message out.